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A Shared Passion for STEM Helps to Inspire Kids Everywhere

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HughesNet and 4-H introduce free online resource with fun, hands-on activities for kids

HughesNet® and the National 4-H Council recently announced the launch of STEM Lab—a free resource for parents and teachers designed to inspire the next generation of scientists. STEM Lab is an online hub offering fun, hands-on activities developed by top public universities and 4-H groups to spark kids’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“Hughes and 4-H share a passion for increasing students’ access to STEM activities no matter where they live,” said Peter Gulla, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Hughes. “STEM Lab mirrors our larger commitment to bridge the technology divide. Kids who have access to online resources that let them tap into their curiosity and enthusiasm for STEM will grow into tomorrow’s leaders—supporting a global economy and powering our connected future.”

Organized according to age groups from 4 to 16 years old, STEM Lab activities are designed to instill curiosity and critical thinking. Projects include easy-to-follow instructions with an explanation of the foundational concepts at work, as well as discussion questions and a list of necessary supplies— which most often consist of basic household items. There’s even a project “Messy Meter,” ranging from “clean” to “mega mess,” which helps parents and activity leaders plan.

At launch, the website featured an exercise in mechanical engineering by the University of California and the University of Nebraska which encourages kids to create a simple robot that draws on paper. Younger students can play chemist by creating “Fizzy Foam” in a project presented by Ohio State University or build a basic wind turbine with little more than paper cups, construction paper, paper clips, and rubber bands. Working with its university partners and with support from HughesNet, 4-H continues to add new activities and projects.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that occupations related to STEM are projected to grow 13 percent by 2022, faster than the 11 percent projected for all occupations over the same period. The next generation of STEM leaders may find these career opportunities with Hughes someday.

“As the nation’s largest youth development organization, 4-H prepares youth for the future, which includes opening doors to dynamic potential careers in STEM fields,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO, National 4-H Council. “We know that 4-H youth, compared to their peers, are two times more likely to pursue STEM careers which is why we are excited to have HughesNet support the launch of the new 4-H STEM Lab, where teachers and parents can share and nurture STEM learning.”

“With STEM Lab, we have an opportunity to bring world-class resources together in a learning hub that’s accessible to kids everywhere. Through the activities we support with 4-H, we’ve seen the powerful impact of such curricula and programs,” said Gulla. HughesNet has worked with the National 4-H Council since 2014 to broaden access to STEM education in an increasingly technology-dependent world. In addition to STEM Lab, HughesNet supports 4-H National Youth Science Day and the Youth in Action STEM pillar award.